Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship

Program Info

Michigan's cultural traditions are a treasured resource to be nurtured for future generations. The Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program encourages cultural preservation, pride, and respect of these traditions through grants of $2,000 made to master artists to teach their skills, techniques, and knowledge to others in their communities.

The intent of this program is to recognize those master artists who maintain their traditions with excellence and according to the needs and aesthetics of their communities and to encourage and facilitate the learning and transmission of valued traditions.

An apprenticeship is a designated period of one-on-one training during which a student (the apprentice) learns a tradition through practical, hands-on experience under the guidance of a respected, accomplished traditional artist (the master).

A panel of invited specialists reviews the applications in early January. They look for strong evidence of excellence of mastery of art form (including recognition of the artist within their community), a description of the tradition and the community in which it is situated, evidence of the commitment of the master artist and apprentice to the apprenticeship, appropriateness of the plan of work, and what the prospective apprentice's motivations and intentions are in undertaking this joint effort.

Review panel meetings are open to the public. Announcements of the awardees are made in the second week of February. All apprenticeships must be completed by August 15 of the year in which they were awarded.

The Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program is administered by the Michigan Traditional Arts Program. It was established with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and is sustained through a partnership with the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.


Apprenticeships may incorporate a wide range of ethnic, cultural, regional, and occupational traditions. Both master artist and apprentice should be residents of Michigan. Apprentices should have some experience in the tradition; they should not be beginners. Master artists should be among the finest practitioners of the tradition within their community.

Although cross-cultural apprenticeships are possible, review panels generally give preference to funding apprenticeships where both the master and the student are from the same cultural group or community.

Applicants may apply for and receive up to two awards in a three-year period. First-time applications may be weighted higher depending on the number and quality of applications. This is not to say that repeat applicants should not apply or that we will not consider awarding these applications, just that the number of times a master artist or apprentice has been awarded will be taken into consideration.

How can I apply?

Applicants must complete an MTAAP form including the portion to be filled out by the master artist and a separate portion to be filled out by the apprentice. The application package must also include samples of the master and apprentice’s work; depending on the type of tradition, this might be photographs, objects, and/or audio tapes of performances. Applicants are encouraged to contact the MTAAP Coordinator to discuss the application prior to submitting it.

Please download and review our Application Guide prior to applying. Applications, including supporting materials must be hand-delivered or postmarked by December 1 each year.


Click here for the Application Guide WORD

Click here for a MTAAP Application form WORD


Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship